“You shouldn’t eat/drink that, you’re breastfeeding!”

 

We’ve all had those conversations I’m sure. “You can’t have that wine, you’re breastfeeding”, “you should eat more than that, you’re breastfeeding”. Everyone seems to have an opinion when it comes to what pregnant and breastfeeding mothers consume when they’re growing or sustaining a baby.

So let’s get factual.

“Breastfeeding mothers should not drink alcohol.”

My big question after I had my baby was, “can I have a glass of wine?” You know the health advice when you’re pregnant but what about now?! Simply put, YES! The amount of alcohol in your breast milk correlates with the amount of alcohol in your blood. It doesn’t get trapped in your breast milk, waiting patiently to be removed so there’s no need to ‘pump and dump’. If you give a feed just before you have your glass of wine, the chances are, the next time your baby wants to feed you would’ve metabolised the alcohol. Having said that, you do need to be mindful that you are responsible for probably the most important human in your world so one or two glasses may be your max. No one likes a drunk mother after all! Drinking coffee, excess glasses of water or having a sleep will not quicken up your metabolism of the alcohol so go easy.

Dr Jack Newman says that a “reasonable alcohol intake should not be discouraged at all. As is the case with most drugs, very little alcohol comes out in the milk. The mother can take some alcohol and continue breastfeeding as she normally does. Prohibiting alcohol is another way we make life unnecessarily restrictive for nursing mothers (Cited in Laleche.org.uk)”.

‘Breastfeeding mothers should drink at least 8-10 glasses of water to ensure they keep hydrated’

You’ll have read this, I’m sure. It’s just not true. Why put a number on it? It means that it’s another thing you need to remember and quite frankly sometimes remembering if I had that wee I needed 2 hours ago was difficult enough. If you’re thirsty, have a drink. Your body is a magnificent thing that will keep your milk supply going regardless of how much or little you drink. If you’re worried though, check your wee. If its dark yellow, smells strong or if you’re headachy and lethargic, drink more fluids. It’s not rocket science!

“You need to drink more milk to make more milk.” “You need to eat more to make more milk”.

How often have you seen a cow drink milk? I’m guessing your answer would be not very often! Yet they still manage to make gallons and gallons of the stuff! I think that’s all I need to say on that one.

Some mothers are told to eat 200-500 extra calories when you’re breastfeeding. If you’re anything like me, you’ll not really know what that looks like. Once again the best way to think about it is, if you’re hungry, eat something. Try and pick healthy, nutritious food or snacks but the odd donut or chocolate bar is not going to be problematic. Some mothers find they get ravenous after a feed, some mothers don’t. Go with what works for you!

“You shouldn’t eat peanuts *or insert any other ‘problematic food’*”

There is no convincing evidence to show that a breastfeeding mother who eats peanuts will increase the likelihood of baby having a peanut allergy (Babycentre.co.uk). This is also supported by the Anaphylaxis Campaign (Ananphylaxis.org.uk).

As long as your diet is a healthy, well-balanced one you will not need to avoid anything. There are some unusual situations where a baby is effected by what the mother eats but they are just that, unusual. If your baby is colicky, gassy or upset after a feed, have a look at your breastfeeding technique. With a little adjustment, you may see an improvement.

So don’t let anyone tell you to put that hamburger/glass of wine or salad down! It’s yours. Heaven knows you’ve earned it!

 

Reference.

Anaphylaxis.org.uk (2015) “FAQ’s” [online] Available from https://www.anaphylaxis.org.uk/what-is-anaphylaxis/faqs/

(Accessed 11th May 2017)

Babycentre.co.uk (2013) “Peanut allergy” [online] Available from https://www.babycentre.co.uk/a1026503/peanut-allergy

(Accessed 11th May 2017)

Laleche.org.uk (2016) “Alcohol and breastfeeding” [online] Available from https://www.laleche.org.uk/alcohol-and-breastfeeding/

(Accessed 11th May 2017)

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